LLNL Scientist Named NNSA Science and Technology Excellence Award Winner

Press Release
Jul 19, 2012

LIVERMORE, Calif. – Administrator Thomas D’Agostino of the National Nuclear Security Administration today awarded the first ever NNSA Science and Technology Excellence Award to Dr. Michel McCoy from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for his groundbreaking computer science research and leadership with the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program.

McCoy serves as the program director for ASC in the Weapons and Complex Integration Principal Directorate at LLNL. McCoy is also the deputy associate director for the LLNL Computation Directorate and leads the Integrated Computing and Communications Department.

“Dr. McCoy’s groundbreaking work in the field of computer science and his commitment to the Advanced Simulation and Computing program is unmatched,” said D’Agostino. “The award presented to Dr. McCoy represents our deep commitment to the science and technology that serves the breadth of our national security missions. His leadership, ingenuity and dedication not only helped NNSA’s Sequoia supercomputer become the fastest supercomputer in the world, but also led to discoveries that will define our work for decades to come. We are fortunate to have dedicated professionals like Dr. McCoy who are truly leaders in their fields, and I am proud to have him part of our enterprise.”

The newly-established NNSA Science and Technology Excellence Award is the highest level of recognition for science and technology achievement in NNSA. It recognizes accomplishment that can include vision, leadership, innovation and intellectual contributions. The award is intended to draw attention to the remarkable scientific and technological successes that are achieved by the researchers that support the NNSA mission, and will be awarded at the sole discretion of the administrator.

As a deputy associate director in Computation at LLNL, McCoy is responsible for the advancement of High Performance Computing (HPC). In particular, he takes responsibility for the strategic direction employed by the Livermore Computing Center, which is considered the world’s premier scientific computing site. LLNL manages more than 23 petaflops of computing power on 22 HPC systems across the classified and unclassified computing environments serving laboratory research.

As program director in Weapons and Complex Integration, he is responsible for maintaining a productive and responsive relationship with the NNSA headquarters ASC office, with maintaining appropriate programmatic balance across the various ASC elements at LLNL, including codes, science and computing infrastructure, and in forging a coherent path to predictive simulation, necessary to affect the goals of complex transformation.

McCoy has worked with LLNL science teams to establish institutional computing for laboratory scientists and to foster relations with industry and academia. This emphasis is part of a vision for enhancing the role of simulation so that all programs, including the underlying science base that supports these programs, remain computationally enabled and intellectually healthy. He led the development of a strategy for simultaneous exploitation of multiple computing technologies to meet a broad spectrum of mission requirements at low cost. As a result of the successful implementation of this strategy, McCoy was recognized in the LLNL Edward Teller Prize in 2004.

McCoy received his bachelor’s degree (1969) and doctorate in mathematics (1975) from the University of California at Berkeley. He joined LLNL in 1975 as a student employee. Upon completing his doctoral dissertation, he became a staff scientist in the National Energy Research Supercomputer Center (NERSC) as a computational physicist with an emphasis on Fokker-Planck based transport simulations. He went on to become group leader of the Office of Science’s NERSC Massively Parallel Computing Group and then its deputy director.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.